Bone Marrow Transplants Could Be Improved

Bone marrow transplant (BMT) researchers at The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center in Milwaukee may have found a mechanism that could preserve the leukaemia-killing effects of a transplant graft, while limiting the damage donor immune cells might do to the recipient host’s vital organs.

“Our results suggest that targeting of interleukin 23, (IL-23), an immune substance secreted by donor marrow cells, may be a viable way to limit graft-versus-host-disease without limiting graft-versus-leukaemia activity,” says lead researcher Rupali Das, Ph.D.

In a recent study, the researchers found that donor mice with marrow cells incapable of producing IL-23, provided protection from graft-versus-host damage to the recipient’s colon, but not to other organs. They then conducted studies in which mice with leukaemia received T cells from the marrow and spleen of IL-23-deficient donor mice.

The recipient mice not only had longer survival times than those receiving T-cells from IL-23-producing mice, but also showed no evidence of leukaemia. Mice transplanted with T cells capable of producing IL-23 all died of graft versus host disease.; Source: Medical College of Wisconsin